Red Underwing Skipper Butterfly - Spialia sertorius

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Hesperiidae

Red Underwing Skipper, Spialia sertorius

The Red Underwing Skipper is a small, fast-flying butterfly often seen taking salts from damp ground, particularly where puddles are drying out on rutted rough tracks.

Persian Skippers, Spialia phlomidis

Above: we think these are probably Persian Skippers Spialis phlomidis, close relatives of the Red Underwing Skipper, taking moisture from a mountain track in Bulgaria.


This butterfly has a wingspan of 22 to 26mm. The underside of the hindwings are a dark reddish-brown, while the upper side of the wings are dark brown with white spots.

Red Underwing Skipper, Spialia sertorius, Portugal


Not recorded in Britain and Ireland, the Red Underwing Skipper is found from North-west Africa to Central Europe including Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Portugal.


The main larval foodplant of the Red Underwing Skipper is Salad Burnet Sanguisorba minor.

Red Underwing Skippers can be seen on the wing between May and early September. The females usually lay their eggs on Salad Burnet flower buds, and the caterpillars emerge and feed before hibernating; in springtime they emerge and feed again. After pupation, the adults emerge in late spring and summer.

Red Underwing Skipper butterflies take nectar from Salad Burnet Sanguisorba minor and several other members of the rose family Rosaceae.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Rob Petley-Jones and Clive Viney.

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